The Farrelly brothers talk aces, betting and playing golf under the influence

The Farrelly brothers talk aces, betting and playing golf under the influence

Bobby (left) and Peter Farrelly directed "Hall Pass," which opens Friday.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

'We’re huge sports fans,' says Bobby Farrelly, who, with brother Peter, has co-directed several slapstick comedies in which sports, or sports stars, play a part. Golf turns up in their new film, 'Hall Pass', opening Friday. The kings of crude comedy talk birdies, Bill Murray, Brett Fav-rah, and the man they consider the Olivier of athletes.

GOLF.COM: There’s golf in 'There’s Something About Mary' and 'Hall Pass,' and you’ve put Tour players like Sergio Garcia and Brad Faxon in your movies. What kind of players are you?
Peter Farrelly: Bob is excellent. I’m pathetic. I’ve never been better than an 18-handicap. My problem is I took it up too late in life—I was 8. I should have started much younger.

Bobby Farrelly: I love to play. I’m a 9 handicap. I shoot in the 70s or low 80s. But Pete has a darn good short game. He’s steady. He can make a putt to win the money.

Is there brotherly gamesmanship?

BF: We love to bet. A few bucks here and there makes it interesting. Owen Wilson [co-star of 'Hall Pass'] is the same way. He’ll bet you all day long on closest to the pin. But he drops $1,000 per bet. He’s got more money than me.
PF: I can get into [Bobby’s] head because I don’t care how I play. I’m not good. It doesn’t get me down. But he is good, so his brain can go to pieces when he struggles. I can go quad-quad-birdie and not care. I once took a 9 and made a hole-in-one on the next hole.

Wow! A 9 and a 1?
PF: I’d made a quadruple bogey on a par-5, then hit a perfect 5-iron draw 170 yards and… boom! In the hole. I throw my club in the air, screaming. And our dad says, “Fer crissakes, shut up! This is a golf course! You think you’re the first person to get a hole-in-one?” The greatest part? My father birdied the hole, and I beat him with my ace. (Laughs)

Your dad doesn’t seem easily impressed.

PF: He’s 80. He had a hole-in-one last year on a 145-yard par-3. He didn’t have the energy to get out of the cart and get the ball. He had our mother pick it out for him.

In 'There’s Something About Mary,' Cameron Diaz hits range balls. Is she your ideal woman?

PF: Cameron had never played before, but she’s a good athlete, and her swing is very good for someone who’d never played. Mary is our idea of the perfect woman. She’s kind, nice, pretty, you can have a beer with her, and she plays golf. We like women who golf. They’re cool.

There’s a golf scene in 'Hall Pass,' which is about two friends whose wives let them chase girls for a week.

PF: A hall pass is not just a week off from marriage to chase women. It’s about doing what you want: go out, watch TV, play golf. The golf scene is based on something that happened to me. I was never a big pot-smoker, but I’m not against it. One time, a friend gave me some pot brownies. I brought them to the course, playing with guys in their 40s and 50s—not exactly pot-head college students. On the 11th hole, someone says, “Let’s do a brownie. It’s mellower than smoking. It will relax us.” That sounded good. We each had a brownie, but I later found out that each brownie was for four people to share. We went to pieces. We literally couldn’t get out of the cart. I thought I was tripping. I moved my head and saw a colors I’d never seen before. I felt like I was on death’s door. It was one of the most harrowing experiences in my life. So in the movie, they do brownies and lose their minds.

Golf’s hard enough without hallucinogens.

BF: It doesn’t end up well. People drink on the course, but generally the beer cart doesn’t have pot brownies on it—and for good reason.

You’re funny guys. What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever seen on a course?

PF: A friend named Ricky Blitt, who used to write for “Family Guy,” never learned how to swim, ride a bike, or drive a car. I took him on the course and said, “Take the cart down to the green.” He managed to run straight into the only tree on the hole. My kids could drive golf carts where they were 6. We were playing with Larry David, who was astounded by this ineptitude.

BF: The funniest thing I ever saw was Bill Murray grabbing that woman and tossing her into the bunker [at the AT&T Pebble Beach pro-am]. I was only watching from home, but I couldn’t believe it.

Murray’s a good golfer, but he also showed real bowling skills as Ernie McCracken in your movie 'Kingpin.'

PF: Bill is unbelievable. He did his own bowling. At the end of the movie, he needs three straight strikes [to beat Woody Harrelson]. We had a thousand people in the stands. I’m thinking, “This will take a while.” Bill rolls three strikes with the first three balls. Amazing.
BF: And he ad-libbed almost every line. Each day we’d give him the pages for the day, he’d read them and say, “Yeah, I get it.” Then he’d ball them up and throw them in the trash and ad-lib everything. And he was five times funnier than what we wrote. I love the line when [he wins] and says, “I got enough money to buy my way out of anything. Big Ern is above the law!”

PF: My favorite line is, “You’re gonna be on a gravy train with biscuit wheels.”

You’ve had many athletes make cameos in your movies, including Tom Brady, Brett Favre and Cam Neely. Who’s the best actor?
BF: Roger Clemens was the most natural. He played Skidmark in “Kingpin”—this big s— kickin’ good ol’ boy.

Who’s the most athletic actor?
BF: Owen Wilson is a heck of an athlete. And he loves to bet. Don’t play him at anything for money—pool, backgammon, ping-pong. Stay away. I’m not bad at ping-pong. Owen wants to play me. He says, “I’ll spot you 10 points.” I’m thinking, “What’s going on here?” But you can’t turn down 10 points. He beat me 21-11.

Brett 'Fav-rah,' as Ben Stiller calls him in the movie, seemed a little wooden as Cameron Diaz’s boyfriend in 'There’s Something About Mary.'

PF: But he couldn’t have been nicer. He showed up with 50 footballs and signed them for the crew. Brett wasn’t our first choice. Steve Young loved the script and wanted to do it, but he said, “Every underage Mormon will try to sneak into the movie, and that’s not cool.” So he passed.

What athlete would you like to work with?

BF: Tiger Woods. He has charisma. Maybe he could play a villain.
PF: Hands down, the best acting athlete is Peyton Manning. He’s remarkable on Saturday Night Live and in [MasterCard] commercials. Everybody in the business talks about him. He’s not afraid to take chances and risk embarrassing himself. Acting is all about commitment, risking looking foolish. That’s why Bill Murray and Jim Carrey are great. They’re fearless. Peyton dives right in. He has balls. Peyton could carry a whole film. He could be a movie star.